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My partner and I have been looking at property in Avondale Estates--primarily new subdivisions like Rammel Oaks, Village at Avondale, etc. We currently live in unincorporated Dekalb in an "up and coming" neighborhood (about 3 miles from downtown Decatur) and would love to remain close to the City of Decatur. We have entertained the idea of potentially moving to Decatur city but felt that there were other good neighborhoods where our money would go further--we do not want to exceed $450,000. Since my partner works from home, we would need at least 4 bedrooms with additional office space (i.e., basement, den, or study).
So, the questions I have are: 1.) What do you think about Avondale Estates and it's school system? 2.) Do you think that it would be a wise investment?
Also, while reviewing the demographics for the area and schools, it seems that very few of the families send their kids to Avondale city schools. . .why is this? Could this be the reason the schools rank so poorly? Or maybe it's the other way around? And do you think this may change in the future (especially considering the Charter School Initiative)? We would love a school with a diverse population--both economically and racially.
Lastly, any opinions about the International Community School?
IIRC a poster mentioned plans for a charter school in Avondale in the near future at present I believe improvement is needed in schools in this area according to what I have read here. The DeKalb County School System has been on the decline and I believe parents can pay out of district tuition to enroll students in City of Decatur schools which are excellent.
There are no Avondale City Schools. If you live in Avondale, children attend Dekalb County Schools. Decatur has its' own school system, as does Atlanta, Marietta and Buford, but most cities in Metro Atlanta don't -- they are part of county school systems.
I like ICS, but you should know that admission is through lottery (they have very limited space) and you can't count on it as a sure thing.
TakeAhike: Thanks for the info. I checked out that thread and after reading it, we are still uncertain if moving to Avondale would be a wise investment. . .especially if their "redevelopment" plan continues to lag a little.
We have been back and forth about Decatur city. . .and understand the option of paying tuition, but it does not seem very dependable. The reason we are looking at Avondale is because it is a nice area with great potential and we hope that it can be turned around, perhaps into something similar to Decatur city (minus the extreme real estate costs).
lastminutemom: Our son is only 19 months. . .so as you can tell, we are thinking about long term. We have time to spare, though.
We would love to find a place where we can settle for a few years--at least until our little one reaches middle school age. Our hope is to get him in public pre-k but we are weighing the option of private school (ex. Cliff Valley). We knew that ICS was on a lottery system and was thinking that if all else fails with Avondale elementary that we could apply for this school. We also thought about remaining where we are and using ICS as an alternative to our zoned school. But we would like to move to a more secure neighborhood (preferably close to Decatur).
As I mentioned in my original post, our current area is up and coming. It is ok. . .the street we live on is probably the best in the community, but it has a few issues that makes it less than child friendly. If we did not have a child, I would probably be content remaining. The area has made major improvements. . .even our zoned (Midway) school has improved. I almost reconsidered moving. . .but we want a better community and diverse school environment for him.
Diverse in DeKalb schools is tough to find -- you will need to head into the Tucker feeder pattern or the Lakeside and Druid Hills Feeder pattern. Otherwise the schools in your area (Midway, Avondale, Jolly, etc) aren't diverse at all.
lastminutemom: Thanks for the info. We were thinking that the most diverse Dekalb county schools were in that area.
We were hoping that Avondale elementary will be able to get their charter school going. . .maybe that would bring about a little change for the area.
What do you think about Avondale Estates as a whole? We only know what we have seen on short visits, but haven't spoken with any residents or others in the know. Also, you said that you like ICS, do you have personal experience with the school? If so, can you tell me about the learning environment. On the Greatschools website some of the reviewers felt that their kids were not being challenged enough.
ICS is a different kind of school -- there have been a handful of parents who believed their children to be "extremely gifted" and have wanted more than ICS (or as it turns out, any DCSS school) could give them. For the most part, the non-refugee families are either very liberal or have one parent who is an ex-pat or some combination of both.
I think that its academics are better than the surrounding schools but not as good as some other schools BUT bright kids will do fine there and will have benefits of a truly international education. The facilities leave a lot to be desired and while many parents are very involved there are many that simply can't be.
At a minimum the Avondale charter school is at least a few years away and that presumes that the legislation that will allow this new commission withstands what is sure to be a huge legal challenge. There was some hope that a lawsuit would have been filed already so those waiting in the wings could know what will happen, but as it stands now, no such luck. There are lots of potential charter schools waiting for this decision.
Seems like the Avondale Chart school initiative is a little controversial. What do you mean by "legal challenge"? Have they received some type of resistance? I do not know too much, besides what is listed on their website. . .so would you be so kind to feel me in?
We would like to make a wise decision, seeing as the economy is so wacky. And would like to be somewhat settled in our location by 2009.
Also, can you compare the academics of ICS to some "other" school? I see that their test scores are low, but that is to be expected in such an environment.
One more thing. . .While researching the demographics of AE, I noticed that the majority of the population is white. But upon investigating the schools more, I noticed that the majority of the students were black. . .and potentially of lower socioeconomic status. What do you (or anyone else) think about this?
My comments about the lawsuits relate to the legislation that passed last year that allows a new commission to charter schools and for those charter schools to get both local and state dollars. I haven't heard that the charter initiative in Avondale is controversial, it is just unlikely to happen if the commission is shot down in court. It is nearly unthinkable that Dekalb would ever approve such a school, so it is critical for the Commission to be up and running for it to even have a shot.
Two minute history lesson-- Avondale Estates use to be highly segregated and had a bad reputation for how it treated miniorities (ie traffic stops, etc). The community has become more diverse and has a Gay mayor, I think (or had one). It is much more liberal than it use to be, etc. The community started an Avondale Education Association and if you are seriously considering Avondale Elementary as a possibility, you need to speak to members of that organization.
AVONDALE ESTATES CHARTER SCHOOL INITIATIVE - About Us (http://www.aeainfo.org/about_us.html - broken link)
Read this and then inquire about how many of the 18 children returned to Avondale Elem. this year.
The City of Avondale Estates has a lot of DINKS (dual income no kids) households, some elderly whites and probably a significant gay population. I also think some in that area send their kids to neighboring private schools. The public schools in Avondale Estates are majority black as you already mentioned. I believe this is maybe because many of the people I mentioned above do not have school aged children in Avondale Estates.
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